The meter upgrade programme will commence in September of this year across two geographic areas in the midlands and in Co Cork. 20,000 meters will be installed by the end of this year by ESB Networks’ network technicians and by electrical contractors working on its behalf in two areas, centred around Portlaoise in the midlands and Bandon in Cork. ESB Networks then plans to replace 250,000 meters between autumn 2019 and the end of 2020, with a further 500,000 meters each year from 2021 to 2024.
Welcoming the rollout, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton T.D. said, “These new smart meters are an important step in our overall drive to switch to renewable energy sources and decarbonise our electricity supply. We now have a Plan in place to radically reduce our carbon emissions. These new meters will enable homeowners to make smarter choices to meet their needs, while saving money on their electricity bills and reducing their impact on the environment. The saving in carbon emissions associated with the homes’ electricity use could also be very significant.”
Initial roll out areas across the midlands in 2019 include: Portlaoise, Portarlington, Mountmellick Abbeyleix, Mountrath, Durrow, Stradbally, Castledermot, Athy, Kilcullen and Baltinglass.
The Cork locations include: Bandon, Macroom, Clonakilty, Kinsale, Blarney, Carrigaline and their hinterlands.
From next month onwards, ESB Networks will make direct contact with customers from these areas, giving plenty of notice to arrange appointment times to replace electricity meters.
Commenting on the rollout programme, Paddy Hayes, Managing Director of ESB Networks said: “Ireland’s Climate Action Plan targets 70% of all electricity from renewables by 2030. Using clean electricity to power heat and transport will be key and these smart meters will ultimately support every household to play their part in Ireland’s clean energy future. We will communicate early and often with electricity customers when arranging their meter replacement.”
ESB Networks is carrying out the upgrade programme on behalf of the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities, co-operating closely with the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and with all electricity supply companies.
Commissioner Aoife MacEvilly from the Commission for Regulation of Utilities said: “The upgrade programme, commencing in September, is an important step on the journey to empower customers and support the migration to a low carbon electricity system. Trials conducted in Irish homes have shown that smart meters helped customers use less electricity and cheaper electricity. Smart meters will also eliminate estimated bills, provide customers with better information on their energy usage, and enable them reduce their carbon footprint.”